What Happens To Your Gut Health When You Eat Lots Of Bananas

If there is a fruit basket in a home, you'll probably find bananas in it. Bananas are not dependent on the seasons and they are usually available all year round. They're relatively inexpensive and can be found at any supermarket. They also have the benefit of making great additions to smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, and fruit salads, when you're done consuming them on their own. 

When you think of this tropical fruit, the first thing that comes to mind is its potassium content which is great for heart health. People may also refer to the other nutrients in bananas like antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, and fiber. 

Fiber, in particular, is great for gut health. When you eat a banana every day, you're more likely to have smoother digestive movement. If constipation, bloating, and gas are concerns for you, adding bananas to your diet can help relieve those problems. "Banana fiber helps restore maintenance of regular bowel functions because it binds to waste and toxins within the digestive tract, aiding in their excretion from the body," explained registered dietician, Rachael Link (via Dr. Axe). But this is not all that these bright-hued fruits can do for your gut.  

Bananas can promote healthy gut microbiome

With the conversation around maintaining a healthy gut taking precedence recently, people are looking for the right foods to eat and ones to avoid. Bananas fall into the former category. 

The soluble fiber in bananas is essential nutrition for healthy gut microbiomes – probiotics, per The Healthy. A healthy gut is a prerequisite for many things including your immune system health, digestion, heart health, and management of blood sugar levels. And if you've heard that bananas put you in a better mood, this is another byproduct of maintaining a good gut. While all of this applies to the regular yellow fruit your mind conjures up when you think of bananas, there's something to be said about their less-ripe green counterparts too when it comes to gut health. 

In fact, according to a 2021 study published in PLOS ONE, the specific fiber found in bananas that is beneficial for gut health — pectin — is more concentrated in the unripe fruit. This is also why green bananas are recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As explained by integrative medicine physician and registered dietitian, Dr. Amy Burkhart, green bananas are considered low-FODMAP foods. "FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that contribute to stomach problems in some people, such as those with IBS," she added. You can't speak of the benefits of a certain type of food without talking about just how much of it you should consume. And even with this nutritious fruit, there is such a thing as too many bananas

How to incorporate bananas into your diet

It is important to keep in mind that despite all they do for your gut health, bananas are still a high-carbohydrate food, per Eating Well. This means that the fruit only contains negligible amounts of protein and fat. 

Also, the sugar content in the fruit can become problematic if you over-consume them, especially the ripe stuff. However, eating around 1-2 bananas daily is considered safe for most people. If you have a habit of slicing up bananas into your morning bowl of Greek yogurt and almonds, that's a good way to balance out the fruit's fiber and carb content with some protein and healthy fat. You can also add them to healthy protein smoothie recipes with other ingredients like oats, spinach, peanut butter, blueberries, etc. As for including the green variety in your diet, you can try substituting potatoes with them in savory dishes because they're not going to be as sweet as the ripe kind, shared Dr. Amy Burkhart. 

The great thing about bananas is that they're easy to consume no matter where you are — at home, on the go, at work, or even as a pre-workout snack. All you have to do is peel and eat. However, if you're concerned about its potassium content and your kidney health or want to discuss its carbohydrate profile with your dietician because of health conditions like diabetes, you should do that before adding it regularly to your diet.